National Geographic : 1977 Apr
"These tides could generate power for 700,000 homes!" Some see in the tide's ebb and flow a limitless power supply: undeveloped! Others say tides promise too little power, too far from anywhere, too late. Who's right? Tidal power specialists point to the Bay of Fundy whose tides display majestic power; 100 billion tons of water rising as much as 50 feet, then draining, twice daily-a 200 million horsepower potential each day. They talk of one Fundy site where a tidal generating plant could net 7 billion KWH. Enough to power 700,000 homes. And Fundy is one of the world's 50 prime sites! True, con struction costs are high. But tidal power is pollution-free, environ mentally tolerant. Enthusiasts say, "develop it!" Others doubt tides will ever make a significant contribution. They point to the problems: remoteness of most potential sites, limited appli cation to date. Only two tidal plants exist in the world. None in North America. Tidal power critics call for energy sources promising more power, closer to needs, in less de velopment time. Where to turn? Petroleum provides 70% of today's energy. Supplies are limited. They'll run low in the for seeable future. We must prepare with an energy policy that encour ages development of non-petroleum power sources. Of course, tides should be investigated. Wind and sun too. But let's concentrate on coal for electricity, petroleum sub stitutes; and on perfecting nuclear power. We urgently need to set energy priorities in terms of a na tional policy blueprinting respon sibilities of consumers, producers, and government. Caterpillar machines are used in all phases of energy production. We believe wise use of all our energy re sources is essential to America's economic and environmental well being. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. W CATERPILLAR Caterpsllr. Catand ire Trademarksof Caterlflr TractorCo "We must provide energyfor 70,000,000 homes:'."